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Google Analytics Language Report: What You Can Learn About Your Visitors

anna-lewis
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This Google Analytics Language report is beneficial for understanding your users better and seeing how activity might vary across different languages. This report shows us how many visits and the on page interaction that has been seen for different languages.

You can find the report here: Audience > Demographics > Language

google-analytics-language-report

In the real world, we talk about languages by using their name, for example "English" or "French". Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn't break down the language reports in this way as it collects this data from the users' browser and browsers use codes to set the language. Instead of "English", Google Analytics uses "en-us", "en-uk", "en_gb", "en", and others.

As you can probably tell, the language is sometimes set as just "en" for English, but it can also be region specific through the second part: "en-us" for English U.S. dictionary or "en-uk" for English UK dictionary.

Some use dashes, some underscores and some have no additional information. There are also some which use the three character language naming format too.

To get around having many rows for the same language, you may wish to group the various version of a language together so that you can analyze all English readers in one go. Alternatively, analyzing the various regions specific languages may prove interesting to you as it may help you choose whether you should be writing your site for a specific regional dictionary.

I have found though, that despite being based in the UK, my browser is set to use U.S. English by default. The browser has been built focusing on the American market and doesn't come in different versions. Instead it relies on the user navigating to their settings to change the language if they feel the need.

If I was a French speaker using Chrome, then I would definitely make sure the language setting wasn't U.S. English. However, as an English speaker in the UK, it makes very little difference to my browsing experience to change my language settings, so I have never changed it.

This means that the data doesn't always truly represent the readers' native language, purely the language they are browsing in.

This means you're more likely to gain beneficial insights from this data by grouping all variations of the same language together through the use of advanced segments.

Advanced Segment for Language Groupings

If we were to do this for English we need to use a regular expression to say match "en" with nothing after it but also match "en" with a dash or underscore after it. This is written like so:

en($|[-_])

language-advanced-segment

The dollar sign means "end of the line" (which will match the two character variations), the pipe means "or" and the square brackets section means match a dash or an underscore after the "en".

You can do the same for the other language variations that your site sees too. Or, if English is the main language, you might want to look at all data excluding the above regex to see the opposite portion of data.

Don't forget, you can also view any report in Google Analytics with the advanced segments mentioned here – you can analyze the content, conversions, and traffic sources for each language segment you set up to see how performance varies. Use this to identify global strategies and identify good markets for your business.

Language Report Data

So now that you've got your head around the various languages shown, it's time to actually consider the data here.

  • Visits: Tells you the total number of sessions logged with that language, placing the languages on a scale of volume. 
  • Pages / Visits: Shows how many pages are viewed on an average visit by users with that language. Languages with low pages per visit data may be a sign that the website content isn't suitable for those users; you would expect a good pages per visit metric for languages to which your site is targeted. 
  • Avg. Visit Duration: Like pages per visits, this report can give you an idea whether the content is suitable or successful for each language. 
  • % New Visits: Here you can identify whether any languages bring a larger percentage of new visits than average or perhaps some languages have more returning visits than others. 
  • Bounce Rate: This helps you review whether the site doesn't work for any languages as there would be a high bounce rate. To gauge the bounce rate highs and lows for the languages that send the most traffic, it's best to sort by bounce rate and then click the Sort Type option and select Weighted. This orders the data based on its performance and the volume of visits – meaning your high bounce rate report doesn't feature just the languages, which had a small amount of visits.

Summary

Now that you understand the report and can manipulate the data to suit your needs, you should be able to analyze your users' languages much better and use this data to help you make improvements to your website to help users with different languages get the most from your site.


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